16-24: French Chocolate Cake

I recently attended a baby shower for a former co-worker and took it as an opportunity to knock out two more Simply Delicious desserts: 16-39: Apricot Tart and this one, 16-24: French Chocolate Cake. I wanted to bring something fruit/nut and something just plain chocolate, since some people there had nut allergies and others might just want something simple and chocolate.

This was a combination birthday party/baby shower (same person being honored for both), which will hopefully explain the odd decorations on my version of the cake. I’ve spared you pictures of the worst of my decoration choices, but let’s just say I made liberal use of all 4 colors of a grocery store icing kit. I kept meaning to hit a craft store for better cake decorations (or even Amazon), but time got away from me. ⏳

I didn’t know where to buy candied flowers, and I didn’t think about how to make them until writing this. If I made this again, I would attempt the actual candied flowers (using edible flowers) and also make the cake in two or three separate cake pans instead of the one springform. It may be more authentic to make it in the one springform, but cutting layers is frustrating and it would have looked and been more even.   Ingredients. I have grapes in the pictures, but no actual grapes were used in or on the cake. They suggest it as part of their version (although where are they in their picture?), so I put it there because I happened to have them in the fridge. I also have some baker’s chocolate and a squeeze bottle on the side that I never used–I had intended to make chocolate decorations for the top and never got around to it.

Mixing the batter using the whisk gives it more airiness.💨

You can sift your dry ingredients using two bowls or one and a piece of wax paper–my mom always liked doing it with the wax paper because then you could just pick up the wax paper and funnel it into the bowl, then save the piece of paper to grease your cookie sheets/pan.

Still using the whisk instead of the paddle, which I usually switch to after adding the dry ingredients–this batter has so little flour I’m not worried about it gunking up the whisk wires, which is usually a concern with doughier recipes.

Using a pencil, I made a rough sketch of the pan on a piece of parchment paper, then cut it out with a pair of scissors. They sell cake round parchments, but I don’t make enough cakes to actually justify buying and storing some. Apparently I’m not as good at cutting parchment paper as I am at cutting construction paper–those lines are all over the place.

Locked and loaded.

While the cake bakes, I work on the chocolate filling. First–pure frosting. Yes, of course I had some.

Separated 3 egg yolks.

Added in the cocoa powder and orange marmalade.

This cake had gotten so high that it was almost poking past the top of the pan. I might have closed the oven door too hard when I checked it (although I thought that was an old wives’ tale), but it definitely started to look less poofy by the time I pulled it out.

It only went down further from here–this is why I wanted to make the cake in three separate pans. No matter how far it deflated (which all will to some degree, but not as severely as mine seemed to), there would still be three distinct, even layers.

I had stashed the filling in the fridge after I finished it to firm it up a bit–helps to spread it more evenly while retaining some shape and volume.

I cut this VERY unevenly because the middle was somewhat sunken–I planned to even it out with some strategically-sculpted filling.

It was probably enough for two thin layers of filling or one really thick one–I was never going to get three layers out of the cake the way it was, so I had to compromise for two thicker ones with one big layer of filling in the middle.

You can see how thin the middle was compared with the edges when you see the top layer of the cake. I plan to hide the unevenness of that middle section with the chocolate glaze and decorations. With some creative pressing and molding of the filling and cake layers, I think it’ll appear even enough once covered.

I melted the butter and chocolate bits to create the glaze–I stretched this one out (like the glaze for 16-14: Orange-Almond Cake) with some coffee and a bit of water. Coffee also makes chocolate’s taste stand out more–like turning it up to 11).

I used a similar baking rack/sheet pan drain pan idea from 16-14: Orange-Almond Cake for this cake as well, it helps it glaze somewhat evenly without having to peel bits off from the bottom when you serve it. It was tough to get it covered evenly (especially on the sides near the bottom of the cake), but I went slow and did the best I could with it.

It’s not as even as it could be, but the more I moved the chocolate around on top, the more the top of the cake started to get scratched up. If I had more chocolate (and I wasn’t doing this the night before the shower after a full week of work), I would have chilled this one and done another layer of glaze the next day, evening out where I could and giving it a more consistent appearance.

I had seen an idea for last-minute decorations at an earlier trip to the grocery store for said decorations on one of the other products in the aisle, and made some sort of attempt at it. I stuck these on when it was still warm/liquidy, and then put it in the fridge overnight to chill and harden the chocolate. I made a travel platter out of some foil-wrapped cardboard box pieces–I hate having to try to get plates and bowls back after bringing things to a party, so I always make/buy something I don’t have to bring home. It looks somewhat better after chilling overnight, but it’s nothing fantastic. However, I assume it tasted great (I didn’t even get to see them cut into it–they hadn’t gotten that far by the time I had to leave the party).

I’ll have to attempt it again someday–I’d like to try it with the three cake pans, better chocolate, and the candied flowers method. We’ll consider this one a practice attempt.

To be continued?

Grade: A*

*pending re-making for quality